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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– A survivor of the Columbine High School shooting returned to Jefferson County on Friday to honor the man who saved his life and inspired him to become a teacher.

Kyle Mickelson was among dozens of other students in the cafeteria of Columbine when two gunmen attacked on April 20, 1999.

Their teacher, Dave Sanders, died while protecting them. He was shot trying to save his students.

Dave Sanders (credit: Coni Sanders)

Dave Sanders (credit: Coni Sanders)

“I don’t want people to forget about it… to forget about him,” said Mickelson.

Mickelson said Sanders inspired him to become a teacher.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“I just hope he’s proud of me. That’s my goal every day. Every night when I go to bed I think I did make him proud today,” said Mickelson.

Kyle Mickelson (credit: CBS)

Kyle Mickelson (credit: CBS)

He also coaches track and this weekend, brought his students from Rifle High School to Jefferson County so they could see the memorial for the victims.

“I’ve known Mickelson for so long and I’ve never been to the memorial and he’s talked about it every year since I’ve known him so coming here and seeing it in person makes it that much better,” said student Lucio Salas.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The names and quotes carved in stone are meant to remind generations to come of the tragedy and how the community healed over the past two decades.

Mickelson’s students also participated in an annual race that honors Sanders.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

  1. Julia L Knowles says:

    Kyle is an outstanding young man and a tremendous asset to our school district. He is an inspiration to students and staff and we are honored to have him as a member of our community. I have no doubt that Mr. Sanders would be exceptionally proud of Kyle.

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